Willem Dafoe Scares Pedestrians from a Digital Billboard

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As countless households and tailgate party regulars around the country prepared for Super Bowl 50, and long before the Denver Broncos actually triumphed over the Carolina Panthers 24 to 10 at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California, Snickers and ad agency BBDO New York collaborated with legendary actor Willem Dafoe to make a splash during those coveted commercial breaks with the latest version of their  “You’re Not You When You’re Hungry” campaign—a prestigious honor shared by the likes of Joe Pesci, at least one Gremlin and everyone’s favorite foul-mouthed and self-deprecating senior citizen Betty White.

Dafoe’s particular installment saw the Academy Award nominee donning Marilyn Monroe’s iconic white dress from Billy Wilder’s The Seven-Year Itch and standing over a subway grate to recreate the renowned scene in which Monroe’s skirt is blown out of place by a strong underground breeze. The idea, of course, is that even someone as classically gorgeous as Marilyn Monroe can suffer from the combination of feeling hungry and angry at the same time (or “hangry” as the Urban Dictionary calls it) thereby transforming into someone that’s grumpy and frightening like Dafoe—a former smoker with a craggy face who’s fearlessly tackled unglamorous roles ranging from the Green Goblin to Jesus Christ to extreme method actor Klaus Kinski in Shadow of the Vampire.

So, in honor of what would’ve been Marilyn Monroe’s 90th birthday, Snickers recently put a spin on that highly successful TV spot and moved the concept to a digital billboard in New York. As pedestrians passed by on the sidewalk, the installation played footage from that racy scene in The Seven-Year Itch while facial recognition technology allowed the display to detect those passersby who were particularly enticed. As the video below shows, more than one onlooker got caught off guard as Monroe’s face suddenly morphed into the mug of Willem Dafoe.

About Author

Jason is a screenwriter, filmmaker, multimedia journalist and editor of DigitalSignageConnection.com. After film school, he attended USF to graduate with a journalism degree. Since then, Kushner has shot video and written for a myriad of publications and multimedia projects including Creative Loafing Tampa, Gogobot.com and TBO.com. His 2009 documentary American Colonies: Collapse of the Bee explored the phenomenon of Colony Collapse Disorder in honeybees and the various environmental/economic repercussions. The film became an Official Selection at 12 international film festivals, won Best Documentary at the 2009 Central Florida Film Festival and a John Muir Gold Award at the 2009 Yosemite Film Festival. In 2015, he became editor of DigitalSignageConnection.com at Exponation in Atlanta where he puts his combination of media skills to good use.

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